(Pictured: Volunteer "Rennaissance" greets folks at Top of Georgia Hostel's front door)
The Top of Georgia Hostel and Hiking Center was a dream in development for over 5 years - THEN - under much fanfare and MANY donations from folks on the trail - FINALLY opened it's doors March 1 of 2014. The dream of proprietor Bob "Sir-Packs'Alot" Gabrielsen had come true - and he still considers it "a miracle" !
As we approach our 18 month of operation we have learned MUCH - and GROWN much !
Now - (according to the Appalachian Trail Conservany) we are ALREADY - the largest and busiest hostel on the trail - (offering the unique comprehensive nightly seminar "Sir-Packs-Alot's 10 Golden Suggestions to Hiking the Appalachian Trail"- unique FREE amenities like our hospital scrubs to wear while WE do your laundry - 5 FREE shuttles to the nearby town of Hiawassee for our guests and FREE shuttles throughout the day to the closest 2 trail heads for our guests) than ANYWHERE !
It doesn't "feel" busy though.
As you walk up to the front door with it's "Welcome Hikers" sign - a staff person comes out and welcomes you - and EVERYONE (staying with us or not) gets a complimentary drink (soda, coffee, hot cocoa, etc. ) THEN they leave you alone to sit out on a porch rocking chair to relax a moment (before you do or do not) check in !
Our non-profit Appalachian Trail School is partnering with the ATC as well to help educate and encourage responsible usage of the trail - during a critical new juncture for the trail's history - as many folks new to the trail will be arriving (an estimated 20% minimal increase) - following the release of the Robert Redford Appalachian Trail film "A Walk in the Woods" (premiering this coming Labor Day).
When you arrive here at the "TOG" - you WILL "get it" !
We are far more than a cool new hostel and great gear store ! From our school, to our our pack shakedowns (AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE) to our murals and wonderful views, famous marble foot baths and our proprietor's nightly informative seminars - it's quite an "experience".
THIS is a very unique place - and the feeling that the TOG is as much of a "cause" to help the trail and it's hikers (as much as anything else) will become self evident.
SO WHAT IS GOING ON AT THE "TOG" NOW - IN AUGUST ?
1) It was a great time to open a hostel and hiking center. Not everyone can hike during the busiest spring months because of the crowds - so many thru-hikers have made alternative plans to hike south from Maine instead of north, or do "Flip Flop" hikes etc ... that have us having many more hikers YEAR ROUND. We continue to see a good amount of these hikers - along with summer day hikers and section hikers daily.
2) We are doing construction on a new building
3) We are renovating the driveway and flooring in the "Yahula Cottage" building
4) We are putting together our Spring of 2016 staff roster
5) We are expanding our gear shop yet again !
6) We are figuring our how best to serve the larger amounts of hikers expected in March and April
Please come on up and see us ! Make an appointment to do a pack shakedown NOW - before your northbound thru-hike ! (706-982-3252)
Posted on 8/9/2015 at 8:00:00 PM